Archive for March, 2006

PhD studentship in Digital Humanities

Friday, March 31st, 2006

The Centre for Computing in the Humanities,
King’s College London, is very pleased to
announce the availability of a studentship for
its PhD in Digital Humanities, to commence
October 2006. Applications must be received by 7
April, so almost immediate action is required. If
you know someone who might be interested, please
see that he or she receives a copy of this
message as soon as possible.

Application is a two-stage process, as follows:

1. Candidates must first commence application to
the PhD in Digital Humanities. This may be done
online. See
for information and the form.

2. They must then apply for the Studentship
itself. See for information and the form.

Zeus remembers Cronos

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

from “Steve Jobs’ Best Quotes” —

“Nobody has tried to swallow us since I’ve been here. I think they are afraid of how we would taste.”
— Apple shareholder meeting, April 22, 1998

Student-Generated Timelines

Monday, March 27th, 2006

from Academic Commons

Student-Generated Timelines

In Teaching and Technology

Malcolm Brown from Darmouth’s Academic Computing Services polled a list I am on, looking for software to allow students to generate timelines. Owen Ellard from Mt. Holyoke pointed him to the timeline creator, a nifty piece of software developed by the Center for Educational Resources at Johns Hopkins. At Wesleyan, we’ve created some nice timelines using fancy software (see South Asian Diaspora ) but haven’t yet thought through how to go about taking this tool and allowing non-designers use it to make their own timelines. The folks at Berkeley’s Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative point to TimeMap, a more sophisticated (and therefore presumably harder to imagine students using) tool for displaying data with a spatial and temporal component.

Robot guide for museum visitors

Monday, March 27th, 2006

(Seen at Rogueclassicism)

Robot guide for museum visitors

Cicerobot to steer tourists round Agrigento museum (ANSA) – Palermo, March 21

A flaming-red robot will soon be guiding tourists round a Sicilian archaeological collection .

The 1.5-metre-high robot, named Cicerobot by his creators, is kitted out with wheels, a keyboard, a monitor, video camera and sensors, enabling him to steer visitors safely through the rooms of Agrigento’s Regional Archaeological Museum .

“Cicerobot is able to plan out tours in accordance with the needs of individual visitors,” explained Antonio Chella, head of the Palermo University robotics laboratory that invented the mechanism.

(Full story…)

Ἐποποῖ !

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

Rob Dyer’s copiously annotated translation of a remarkable Suda entry (epsilon 2807: epopoi) has now received editorial support from SOL Senior Editor David Whitehead. From the start of the notes:

This delightful collection of shouts and ‘mimic words’ (bird cries and onomatopoeic words: cf. Eustathius on Homer, Iliad 11.251 = vol.3.230.12) from the extant plays of Aristophanes, meticulously ordered and unusually well preserved, throws light on e.g. the roles of Procne the nightingale and the kestrel (note 10) in Birds and of the Young Man at the end of Ecclesiazusae (note 27), and on the complex metrical structure of the monodies, duets and choruses of Birds. It was compiled, however, in the context of the grammatical Canons, words classified by analogy into paradigms of form and accentuation. The most important Canons of the time were those of Theognostus, compiled in the 9th. Century.

Getting Data into Google Earth using Arc2Earth

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

Brian Flood has a post on the apparently straightforward task of presenting GIS data through Google Earth.

“the look, feel, and functionality of Microsoft Word, in a completely web-based AJAX platform”

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

Michael Robertson intends to offer six new Ajax applications, one each week, via his site.  He’s begun with a new word processor, ajaxWrite.

“some confuse praise for better DRM with praise for DRM”

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

Lawrence Lessig comments on Sun’s new openDRM scheme.


Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

The March 2006 issue of Scientific American includes:

The Elusive Goal of Machine Translation
Statistical methods hold the promise of moving
computerized translation out of the doldrums
By Gary Stix

(subscription only, or buy the print version)

DRHA conference 2006

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

Digital Resources in the Humanities And Arts
* *  Conference 2006  * *
Dartington College of Arts, UK
September 3-6, 2006

for further details see


EpiDoc Development Sprint

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

During the week of 20-24 March, the Centre for Computing in the Humanities at King’s College (London) is playing host to a group of EpiDoc practitioners and Text Encoding Initiative experts for the purpose of an “EpiDoc Development Sprint.” This event proceeds under the auspices of the Inscriptions of Aphrodisias Project (also at King’s) and with funding support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Other participants represent the U.S. Epigraphy Project and the Scholarly Technology Group (both at Brown University); the Ancient World Mapping Center (UNC-Chapel Hill); and Sprint participants are collaborating to achieve major advances in published guidelines and free tooling to support the encoding of Greek and Latin inscriptions using the TEI tagset.

The week’s efforts are organized into a pair of two-day sprint sessions, the first of which has now closed. Herewith a brief summary of accomplishments to date …

Most convincing endorsement of Creative Commons I have seen

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

This week’s New Scientist has an interview with Cameron Sinclair, award-winning architect, founder of Architecture for Humanity, and winner of the Technology Entertainment Design conference award, who plans to spend the $100 000 prize building an open source databank of disaster relief architectural designs under a Creative Commons license. Inspirational stuff, and great fodder for arguments with strong-IP-types.

(Full article requires subscription.)

Nature special on the future of scientific computing

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

At every humanities computing-related meeting I’ve been to over the past year, someone exhorts us to “have a good look at what the scientists are doing.” Nature magazine has just published a special edition with useful articles towards that end:

In the last two decades advances in computing technology, from processing speed to network capacity and the internet, have revolutionized the way scientists work. From sequencing genomes to monitoring the Earth’s climate, many recent scientific advances would not have been possible without a parallel increase in computing power – but with revolutionary technologies such as the quantum computer edging towards reality, how long will the current synergy between computing and science last?

This Nature web focus combines new reports and commentaries from an international group scientists assessing how computing science is already transforming mainstream science, and news features analysis from leading journalists, to address the challenges the world will face in the coming decades.

Virtual Humanities Lab

Tuesday, March 21st, 2006

Geoff Rockwell notes the arrival of Vika Zafrin’s NEH-funded Virtual Humanities Lab at Brown, an interface for the display, annotation, and discussion of semantically encoded texts.

DMCA: Circumventing Competition

Tuesday, March 21st, 2006

Circumventing Competition: The Perverse Consequences of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

by Timothy B. Lee

Executive Summary

The courts have a proven track record of fashioning balanced remedies for the copyright challenges created by new technologies. But when Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998, it cut the courts out of this role and instead banned any devices that “circumvent” digital rights management (DRM) technologies, which control access to copyrighted content.

The result has been a legal regime that reduces options and competition in how consumers enjoy media and entertainment. Today, the copyright industry is exerting increasing control over playback devices, cable media offerings, and even Internet streaming. Some firms have used the DMCA to thwart competition by preventing research and reverse engineering. Others have brought the weight of criminal sanctions to bear against critics, competitors, and researchers.

The DMCA is anti-competitive. It gives copyright holders—and the technology companies that distribute their content—the legal power to create closed technology platforms and exclude competitors from interoperating with them. Worst of all, DRM technologies are clumsy and ineffective; they inconvenience legitimate users but do little to stop pirates.

Fortunately, repeal of the DMCA would not lead to intellectual property anarchy. Prior to the DMCA’s enactment, the courts had already been developing a body of law that strikes a sensible balance between innovation and the protection of intellectual property. That body of law protected competition, consumer choice, and the important principle of fair use without sacrificing the rights of copyright holders. And because it focused on the actions of people rather than on the design of technologies, it gave the courts the flexibility they needed to adapt to rapid technological change.

iRex unveils its iLiad eBook reader

Sunday, March 19th, 2006

Lots to like, including the name.

Survival of the Fittest – open source and sustainability

Friday, March 17th, 2006

“Sustainability” is really just another word for survival. Open source
projects either survive or they do not. But what makes one project
survive and another die? And does the answer matter?

Open Source and Sustainability

The answer *does* matter.

  • first, to the project itself and to all those individuals committing their time and energy to producing software that meets a particular need;
  • second, to the open source businesses whose business model depends upon the continued flourishing of the development project; and
  • third, to the colleges and universities considering investing in an open source solution by deploying it to meet some aspect of their ICT needs.

Join an international cast of experts exploring the survival issues at
Open Source and Sustainability in Oxford, 10-12 April.

Register to attend today.

Date: 10-12 April 2006
Location: Said Business School, Oxford, UK

Ajax tutorials

Friday, March 17th, 2006

From Michael Calore’s Monkey Bites blog at Wired:

A Heap of Ajax Tutorials
Topic: Web 2.0

Superstar Max Kiesler has collected a list of thirty Ajax tutorials. He’s rounded up these free online tutorials for all levels of Ajax development.

If you’re trying to tackle Ajax forms, build a file uploader, an image gallery, or one of those ubiquitous Ajax suggest-a-term live search widgets, you’ll find a how-to on this page.

Not to be a party-pooper or anything, but one of the best intros to Ajax on the web was written by our very own Paul Adams. That’s right: Webmonkey’s “All Request, All the Time” didn’t make the list, so we’re telling you about it now. Paul wrote it about a year ago — which we’re sure makes him some sort of visionary — but the knowledge he drops on you is still timely. Check it out.

“What do you do with a million books?”

Thursday, March 16th, 2006

The March 2006 issue of D-Lib Magazine ( is now available.  This is a special issue on the theme of “Digital Library Evolution” with guest editor, Gregory Crane, Tufts University. The articles include:

  • What Do You Do with a Million Books? (Gregory Crane, Tufts University)
  • Early Modern Culture in a Comprehensive Digital Library (Wolfgang Schibel, University of Mannheim, and Jeffrey A. Rydberg-Cox, University of Missouri – Kansas City)
  • From Babel to Knowledge: Data Mining Large Digital Collections (Daniel J. Cohen, George Mason University)
  • Document Recognition for a Million Books (G. Sayeed Choudhury, Tim DiLauro, Robert Ferguson, Johns Hopkins University; Michael Droettboom, Hillcrest Labs; and Ichiro Fujinaga, McGill University)
  • Debabelizing Libraries: Machine Translation by and for Digital Collections (David A. Smith, Johns Hopkins University)
  • Text, Information, Knowledge and the Evolving Record of Humanity (Gregory Crane and Alison Jones, Tufts University)

Additions to neo-Latin colloquia texts

Friday, March 10th, 2006

We have added two additional authors to the Neo-Latin Colloquia Project:

  • Franciscus Cervantes de Salazar (1514?-1575), Ad Exercitia Linguae Latinae Dialogi
  • Petrus Popo, Colloquia de Scholis Herbipolensibus

Moreover, the hopper now provides access to portions of these texts that were previously invisible (we’ve adjusted the TEI-XML div structure). In particular, such prefaces and epilogues as may exist in Cervantes de Salazar, Castalio, Corderius, Corvinus, Duncanus, Mosellanus, and Pontanus are now available. This material typically reveals why these authors produced their colloquia, e.g. the essay De utilitate colloquiorum ad lectorem by Erasmus.

Continuing gratitude to Adrian Packel of Perseus for his kind assistance.

LibriVox: free public domain audiobooks

Friday, March 10th, 2006

If you’re too cheap to subscribe to, and you’re about to take a long drive or plane ride, and you want something to listen to, there’s LibriVox.   The catalog shows completed books, short works (including some poetry), and works in progress. They’ve just added Aristotle’s Poetics, and they’re looking for volunteers.  Great project!

False multiples in the TLG Canon

Friday, March 10th, 2006

The TLG Canon assigns two work numbers to the Lexicon of Hesychius, since it took the first half (4085.002) from Latte’s edition, the second half (4085.003) from that of Schmidt.  Same thing happens with the Geographia of Ptolemy (0363.009, 0363.014).  I wonder how often a single work gets represented as if it were two or more different things in the TLG scheme?

Exporting Censorship

Friday, March 10th, 2006

From an NYT op-ed by Xeni Jardin:

If American companies are already obligated to disclose the sale of bombs and guns to repressive regimes, why not censorware?

Byzantine lexicography in Wikipedia

Friday, March 10th, 2006

Just noticed the rather meaty and link-rich entry on the Suda in Wikipedia, which also links externally to the SOL.

Another tool for collaboration

Thursday, March 9th, 2006

Google buys Writely, a browser-based word processor.

Update: Ars Technica and The Register have more on this.